Title: A Word of Encouragement Text: 1 Timothy 6:11-16 CIT: Encouragement CIS: Encouragement
Introduction: Which of the two would you rather hang around with: someone who is negative or someone who is positive?
Max Lucado: I discovered the importance of healthy counsel in a half-Ironman triathlon. After the 1.2 mile swim and the 56-mile bike ride, I didn’t have much energy left for the 13.1-mile run. Neither did the fellow jogging next to me. I asked him how he was doing and soon regretted posing the question.
“This stinks. This race is the dumbest decision I’ve ever made.” He had more complaints than a taxpayer at the IRS. My response to him? “Goodbye.” I know if I listened too long, I’d start agreeing with him.
I caught up with a 66-year-old grandmother. Her tone was just the opposite. “You’ll finish this,” she encouraged. “It’s hot, but at least it’s not raining. One step at a time…don’t forget to hydrate…stay in there.” I ran next to her until my heart was lifted and my legs were aching. I finally had to slow down. “No problem.” She waved and kept going.
t.s.: Encouragement. There’s really nothing else like it. And that is what Paul is doing in this passage. And by doing this, he is setting a great example for leaders. He ends his letter on a positive note. He has just delivered the four features of false teachers and now moves to a conclusion with a positive twist…rd v 11a…but as for you, O man of God; this passage of encouragement can be divided into three equal parts: his encouragement for Timothy to persist and (2) to persevere. And he closes with a beautiful doxology of praise to God; this 1st section is an encouragement to persist in the ministry…
1. Persistence (11-12)
exp.:; Persistence: to continue firmly in a state or action in spite of obstacles or objections; rd v 11, but you, O man of God; Your different than those false teachers who pursue their own passions for personal gain; But has the flavor of Instead; “Man of God” this is a term used in the OT of Moses, and other prophets like Elijah, King David. Paul uses it here and in 2 Tim 3:17, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work; don’t do those things the false teacher does, but instead…Paul introduces 4 imperative verbs for Timothy; the first is…
- Flee – ‘these things’; this word in the Gk (φεύγω (pheugō) is the word we get fugitive from; 2nd,
- Follow – pursue; the lexicon defines this word as; follow in haste; the idea is to chase after these other things: I think you can group these ‘things’ (as Paul says) into two separate attributes you should be pursuing…
- Christian Conduct: (What you do) righteousness, godliness, faith
- Christian Virtues: (How you respond) love, patience (steadfastness, endurance, perseverance), gentleness (compound word: gentle and to suffer – might carry a nuance of “gentleness in the midst of suffering”; So Paul is saying: Timothy, Don’t chase after money, popularity, position (like the false teachers) but instead, chase after righteousness,… 3rd,
- Fight – 12a; to compete; ἀγωνίζου; agonize; used to describe what athletes do; stay in the competition; the one of faith; … #4;
- Faithfulness – rd v 12b; to your calling, to your confession, exp.: possible baptism, ordination; possible two separate events or maybe the same; remember to do what you said you would do in the presence (in the sight of) of many witnesses;
ill.: my prayer chair; in what a good friend calls the ‘holy of holies’; my office
app.: what a great motivator, what a great reminder, we’re not called to success as the world labels success, we’re called to flee, follow, fight, and be faithful to our calling…
t.s.: He’s encouraged first to persist, and 2nd, here to
exp.: you see the charge in v 13…The Charge:
- The Seriousness of the Charge: in ‘presence of’ (same as 12) God, who is the life-giver; life sustainer, maker, keeper; (in some context, this would not be so encouraging, but that isn’t how this is presented; IVP’s Phillip Towner writes: In another context this truth might be a source of comfort (Lk 12:6; Acts 2:25), but the presence of God is typically invoked to ensure veracity (Lk 1:19) or, as here to strengthen the sense of obligation contained in an apostolic command. Jesus: Don’t fear those who can kill the body, but the one who can kill both the body and the soul; I wonder, as you consider entering into the very presence of God, are you at peace or terrified? Is there a certain trepidation or is there calm? I’ll be honest, I had to ponder that for a moment. I wonder if I’m too quick to say that I’d feel peace and be calm.
- The Standard of the Charge: rd 13b Jesus, who is the example; he made his confession before Pontius Pilate and was found faithful, even to the point of death; a great standard; too often we compare ourselves to each other; we can usually find someone living below our standard and say that we’re doing pretty good! But here, Paul doesn’t even say that he, himself is the standard. No, Christ who is perfectly faithful…
- The Substance of the Charge: rd v 14a; Keep the Commandment; τηρέω (tēreō); Hold it close, guard it; continue in it; sometimes ‘obey’; “I charge you, Keep the commandment… How?
- The Scope of the Charge: rd 14b; to keep it unstained (unblemished) and free from reproach; Do you see the breadth of this command:
- How it is? (unstained)
- How it should remain (free from reproach)
- How long it should be kept: ‘until’ Jesus returns
t.s.: The final section of the passage is the doxology or Praise…
exp.: a doxology to God; this praise seems to be in protest of the earthly emperor (probably Nero); because he says here; rd v 15: God is the blessed and ‘the only sovereign”; King of Kings and Lord of Lords;
This is a combination of the Old Testament and Hellenistic languages;
- Sovereign isn’t seen very often here, but many times in the LXX; Hellenistic
- King of Kings and Lord of Lords is OT language (Hebrew/Jewish);
- Here is the point: emperors die, But our God is the only immortal King; beautiful conclusion; who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. This reminds me of Daniel 7 and the Ancient of Days and, Revelation 4 which describes God in Colors… clothed in rainbows of living colors, flashes of lighting – rolls of thunder.
App.: Paul says much of the same thing of himself, as he is closing out his 2nd letter to Timothy; 2 Tim 4:7,8: 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.
So we persist, we persevere and we praise our God until he sends his Son, or he determines that we are finished and he calls us home; That might sound sad, but I don’t think it is!
Conclusion: (From Sermon Illustrations online)
Ten days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, a group of citizens in North Platte, Nebraska, heard a rumor that soldiers from their town, part of the Nebraska National Guard Company D, would be coming through on a troop train on their way to the West Coast. Five hundred people showed up at the train depot with food, cigarettes, letters, and love to give their own sons and young men they knew.
When the train showed up, it was not the Nebraska National Guard Company D boys on board; it was the soldiers from the Kansas National Guard Company D.
After a few awkward moments, a woman handed a young man she’d never seen the gifts intended for her own son. Everyone else followed that lead, and there were hugs and prayers and love shared all around. It was a spontaneous act of genuine devotion that touched both the soldiers and the people who came to the depot that day. That alone would have been a beautiful illustration of the willingness to “sacrifice for one another.” But the story continues.
A few days later, a 26-year-old woman named Rae Wilson wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper recounting the profound experience they’d shared that night. She then suggested the town organize a canteen, so they could do something similar for every troop train that came through. She offered to lead the effort as a volunteer.
For the next four and a half years, the people of North Platte and the surrounding communities met every troop train that came through their town. Every day, they prepared sandwiches, cookies, cold drinks, and hot coffee. They had baskets of magazines and books to give away to the soldiers, and snacks for the train. There were even birthday cakes for anyone having a special day. And they did this, some days, for as many as 8,000 soldiers and sailors.
The statistics are staggering. By the time the last train arrived on April 1, 1946, six million soldiers had been blessed by the North Platte Canteen. Forty-five thousand volunteers had served faithfully until the war was over and most of the troops had been transported home.
Most of the troops had only ten minutes to sprint from the train, grab some food, maybe dance with a pretty girl, hear the appreciation of those present, and sprint back before the train left without them. But in those ten minutes, they got more than a meal. They received a dose of unconditional love that they remembered later—during the heat of battle as well as decades after the war was over.
Bob Greene, whose book Once Upon a Town made the North Platte Canteen story known to the world, wrote that, as he interviewed those few surviving soldiers who had experienced the canteen firsthand, there was a universal reaction from the men (who were by that time in their late seventies and eighties): they cried.
This isn’t a half-ironman, it’s much longer, keep going! This is a huge task we’ve been called to…. And it does touch so many lives – maybe even people we don’t know…
So, in your faith and calling: Persist in your calling, Persevere in your commitment, and Praise God.